School Based Mental Health Therapists
Melissa Bradley, LMHC
Clinical Director of Mental Health ServicesMelissa Bradley, LMHCMelissa earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2005. She went on to achieve her master’s degree in mental health counseling in 2013 from Argosy University. Melissa has expressed a passion for working with young children since 1998. She has served as the director of outpatient mental health services and is now occupying the role of director of school-based mental health services for The Florida Center. Melissa practices ‘time-ins’ with her child at home which supports a positive parent-child relationship based on security, connectedness, and open communication.
Clinical Director of Mental Health Services
Karen Stull, LMHC
School-Based Mental Health Supervisor of South CountyKaren Stull, LMHCKaren earned her Master of Arts Degree in mental health counseling from Florida Gulf Coast University. She became a licensed mental health counselor in 2011 and a qualified supervisor in 2015. Karen worked at The Florida Center from 2009 through 2014 moving up the ranks from intern, to mental health therapist, school-based therapist and finally supervisor. She left the organization for a five-year period taking a counselor position at Toledo Blade Elementary School, where she worked with students, families, teachers and staff. In 2020, Karen returned to The Florida Center as supervisor for the school-based therapy program. Karen is an avid reader who enjoys bike riding and yoga as part of her self-care routine.
School-Based Mental Health Supervisor of South County
Danielle Bishop, LMHC
Mental Health Therapist/Glenallen Elementary SchoolDanielle Bishop, LMHCDanielle earned both her bachelors' degrees in pre-movement/dance therapy and forensic psychology from Stockton University. She went on to obtain a masters degree in psychology and another in clinical mental health counseling from Walden University. Prior to moving to Florida in 2013, Danielle worked as a crisis counselor in response to Hurricane Sandy. Since, she has furthered her experience in working in a hospital setting and private practice. Danielle is currently working towards becoming a registered play therapist as she enjoys working with kids of all ages. She strives to empower her clients to overcome personal obstacles to improve their overall well-being.
Mental Health Therapist/Glenallen Elementary School
In her spare time, Danielle enjoys various avenues of exercising such as weightlifting, yoga and dancing. She participates in mindful meditation on a regular basis to aid in creating balance. She views self-care as being essential in being able to create the relaxed and playful atmosphere for her clients.
Sandra Chalarca-Torres, MSW
Mental Health Therapist/Gocio Elementary SchoolSandra Chalarca-Torres, MSWSandra earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey in 2000. She completed her Master of Social Work Degree in 2005 from Rutgers University. Sandra completed her residence through the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House-Hackensack Medical Center in which she began her passion for helping and supporting children and families. In 2006, Sandra joined Safe Horizon Staten Island Child Advocacy Centers program in New York, and held the position of the Director of Forensic and Clinical Services for fourteen years. Sandra has conducted workshops to caregivers, staff and interns regarding trauma and child abuse. She supervised and supported the operation to respond to child abuse through the continuum of services offered. Sandra has implemented evidence practice models including CFTSI, TF-CBT, Risking Connections. Sandra has three children yoga teacher certifications and she had provided yoga classes for traumatized children throughout Kula for Karma program services in NJ. Sandra truly believes in the child’s resiliency and her work has been dedicated about the pursuit for child’s resiliency and hope.
Mental Health Therapist/Gocio Elementary School
Shea Cruel, MSW
Mental Health Therapist/Oak ParkShea Cruel, MSWShea earned both his bachelor's and master's degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University. He is currently pursuing his license as a clinical social worker.
Mental Health Therapist/Oak Park
Shea has been working as a mental health therapist for over a year. He served as an outpatient therapist working with children, adults and their families. Shea focuses on implementing frequent self care techniques including exercising and practicing his faith to maintain positive mental health.
Kerri Deatherage, RMHCI
Mental Health Therapist/Ashton Elementary SchoolKerri Deatherage, RMHCIKerri earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of New Hampshire and her master's degree in mental health counseling from Argosy University. Kerri’s prior experience includes working with children and adults in a mental health capacity and teaching parenting classes. She led small group sessions, worked with individual clients at and led anger management classes in North Port. Kerri is an active member of the Junior League of Sarasota and serves on the board of Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County. She also has run a photography business since 2009. A big fan of nature, Kerri practices self-care with lots of time spent at the beach, in her garden and in a kayak.
Mental Health Therapist/Ashton Elementary School
Ariel Pertosoff, RCSWI
Mental Health Therapist/Gulf Gate ElementaryAriel Pertosoff, RCSWIAriel earned her bachelor degree in social work from the University of South Florida (2017). She went on to achieve her master’s degree in clinical social work from USF, graduating in 2018. Ariel is currently in the process of pursuing her license to become an LCSW. She completed her graduate student clinical internship at Manatee Children's Services providing therapy to child victims of sexual and physical abuse. After obtaining her MSW, Ariel began working at the Child Protection Center as a therapist for child victims of abuse. Prior to becoming a therapist, Ariel worked with children in a number of settings including a residential youth shelter and a domestic violence/rape crisis center. Ariel has a passion for providing therapy to children of all ages and enjoys spending time with her family in her spare time.
Mental Health Therapist/Gulf Gate Elementary
Yen Dinh, MSW
Mental Health Therapist, Tatum Ridge ElementaryYen Dinh, MSWYen earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the San Francisco State University in 1994. She went on to achieve her Master of Arts Degree in social work in 1998, with a focus on working with individuals, families and groups. She is currently pursuing her license as a clinical social worker. Yen is bilingual in Vietnamese and English. She has worked and advocated for children, youth and their families in for over 20 years. She held many different positions throughout her career including social worker, health educator, case manager, program manager and school social worker. Yen enjoys cooking and spending time with family. friends and neighbors.
Mental Health Therapist, Tatum Ridge Elementary
Jenna Froug, RCSWI
Mental Health Therapist/Brentwood ElementaryJenna Froug, RCSWIJenna earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology from the University of Florida in 2016. She went on to achieve her master's degree in social work in 2018 from Florida State University. As a Florida native, Jenna has always had a passion for school-aged children. Jenna has worked in schools as a tutor and girls’ group therapist. Jenna is passionate about bringing trauma-informed care into the Sarasota County school system. Jenna practices mindfulness and meditation in her spare time and finds that frequent practices help improve her state of mind and overall sense of well-being at home and at work.
Mental Health Therapist/Brentwood Elementary
Jennifer Gravesen, RMHCI
Mental Health Therapist/Glenallen Elementary SchoolJennifer Gravesen, RMHCIJennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Central Florida in 2010. She completed her master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY in 2014. Jennifer is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Jennifer has been working with children and their families for the past 10 years, with a focus on trauma and the child welfare system. She is passionate about trauma-work and has a background in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, incorporating mindfulness into sessions. Jennifer incorporates mindfulness into her daily routine with her family. She notes that being mindful of her own feelings has helped her be more present and engaged with her family and at work.
Mental Health Therapist/Glenallen Elementary School
Jennifer Hatcher, LCSW
Mental Health Therapist/Phillipi Shores Elementary SchoolJennifer Hatcher, LCSWJennifer earned her Bachelors of Social Work Degree from the University of South Florida in 1999. She went on to achieve her Masters of Social Work Degree from USF in 2001, with a post master specialization in both infant family mental health and maternal mental health. Jennifer has worked with children and families for more than 20 years in both public and nonprofit organizations. She also has more than 15 years experience working with U.S. Service members and their families. Jennifer is a proud mother of two teenagers and a military spouse. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and going to the beach.
Mental Health Therapist/Phillipi Shores Elementary School
Laurie Heller, MS
Mental Health Therapist/Venice Elementary School & Taylor Ranch Elementary SchoolLaurie Heller, MSLaurie received her bachelor’s in psychology from John Carroll University and earned her master’s in counseling from Georgia Southern University, graduating with honors both times. While attending grad school, she played a pivotal role as project coordinator for two government-funded research initiatives: The Recovery Project and Parents Matter! Program. Laurie has been in the service field for over 30 years with experience in both public and private sectors. She has served as a behavior specialist, community counselor, research project coordinator and most recently at a private practice where she supported a number of individuals, couples and families. Laurie has practiced healthy mind, body and spirit approaches her entire life. She enjoys yoga, rollerblading, swimming, healthy eating and listening to music. She also enjoys reading, writing, journaling and exploring nature.
Mental Health Therapist/Venice Elementary School & Taylor Ranch Elementary School
Sara King, LCSW
Mental Health Therapist/Wilkinson Elementary SchoolSara King, LCSWSara earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Furman University. She went on to receive her master's degree in social work from Florida State University. Sara has been a licensed clinical social worker for over 20 years. Prior to working with The Florida Center, she helped both children and adults in Manatee and DeSoto counties through her position with MCR Health. Sara has also worked in the community as a medical social worker for several local home healthcare agencies and as a school social worker for the School District of Manatee County. A life-long resident of Manatee county, Sara enjoys spending time with family and friends, visiting the beach and reading.
Mental Health Therapist/Wilkinson Elementary School
Mariana Mackinnon, RCSWI
Mental Health Therapist/Lakeview Elementary & Southside Elementary SchoolMariana Mackinnon, RCSWIMariana earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in 2019, from Florida Gulf Coast University, with a focus on social work. She went on to pursue her advanced standing master's degree in 2020 with a focus on clinical social work. Mariana achieved her diversity and inclusion certification from FGCU as well as a certificate in youth mental health first aid. Mariana's previous relevant experience includes working with both Collier County Public Schools as well as the Sarasota County Schools. Her tasks ranged from drafting social-emotional learning external communications, providing financial assistance, counseling students, and partnering with local agencies to bridge the gaps in social service. Mariana enjoys being outdoors in her free time. Whether this is exercising, going for a walk, or swimming, she finds that it allows her to feel more connected to herself and helps her recharge to be fully present for her clients.
Mental Health Therapist/Lakeview Elementary & Southside Elementary School
Natalie Prater, RCSWI
Mental Health Therapist/Toledo Blade Elementary SchoolNatalie Prater, RCSWINatalie earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology and criminal justice from Iowa State University in 2016. She went on to achieve her master's degree in social work from the University of Minnesota in 2019, with a focus on clinical mental health and children and families. She is currently pursuing her license as a clinical social worker. Natalie has multiple years of mental health experience working with children, families, and adults in a wide range of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, and in-home services. Natalie enjoys traveling, reading, the outdoors, and spending time with her family, friends, and dog Tucker. She finds that frequent time outside, mindfulness, and engaging in physical activity improve her state of mind and help her feel more balanced, both at work and at home.
Mental Health Therapist/Toledo Blade Elementary School
Melia Richardson, MSW
Mental Health Therapist/Tuttle Elementary SchoolMelia Richardson, MSWMelia earned her bachelor degree in social work from Missouri Western State University in 2019 and further obtained her master’s degree in the same subject from the University of South Florida in 2020. Following her graduation, Melia worked was a therapist for the child protection center’s sexual abuse treatment program. In addition to her experience working with victims of trauma, Melia was involved with children through agencies such as Big Brother and Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club. Melia enjoys hiking in her free time. She feels hiking is a great way to clear her mind and gets her out in nature.
Mental Health Therapist/Tuttle Elementary School
Jorge Rivas-Carrillo, MSW
Mental Health Therapist/Bay Haven SchoolJorge Rivas-Carrillo, MSWJorge earned his bachelor's degree in psychology and his master's in clinical psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey. He also recently earned his master's in social work at City University of New York. He is currently pursuing his license as a clinical social worker. Jorge has worked with children and families involved in the New York State child welfare system for the past 8 years providing family therapy. His interests are in the areas of multicultural mental health practices, child psychology and family psychology. He was born and raised in Peru and enjoys utilizing his bilingual skills in his clinical practice. Jorge's self-care is spent running, reading and travelling.
Mental Health Therapist/Bay Haven School
Taylor Robson, LMHC
School-Based Mental Health TherapistTaylor Robson, LMHCTaylor earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and French from Denison University in 2011. In 2013, she went on to complete a master’s degree in neuropsychology and rehabilitation before working as a coordinator of research programs for individuals with neurological impairment. In 2019, Taylor earned a second master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Florida Atlantic University. Taylor has experience working in diverse counseling settings, including high-risk community-based programs for children and teens, school settings, senior care settings, and outpatient community mental health. She has experience working with individuals, families, and groups. Taylor is trained in a variety of counseling interventions and aims to adopt appropriate therapy modalities to meet each client’s unique needs. Taylor loves spending time with her husband and two dogs, and she focuses on practicing gratitude daily. She enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, biking, and swimming to focus on self-care.
School-Based Mental Health Therapist
Margaret Ross, RCSWI
Mental Health Therapist/Fruitville Elementary SchoolMargaret Ross, RCSWIMargaret earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and family and child sciences in 2016 and her master's degree in Social Work in 2018 from Florida State University. She served as a peer educator and mentor throughout her undergraduate career and was research assistant in graduate school. Margaret is also certified to teach children's yoga. Margaret has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in different capacities. She was previously a clinical social worker for inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care, spent time volunteering at a preschool, and has worked one-on-one with a child on the autism spectrum to teach mindfulness, breathing, and healthy movement techniques. Margaret enjoys practicing yoga, playing golf, knitting, and reading. She believes that finding a balance between both active and relaxing hobbies is important. Margaret feels that taking time to care for oneself is imperative to mental health and overall wellness.
Mental Health Therapist/Fruitville Elementary School
Pam Sanders Wilsen, LCSW
Mental Health Therapist/Emma E. Booker Elementary SchoolPam Sanders Wilsen, LCSWPam earned her Bachelor's of Arts Degree in psychology from the University of South Florida in 2009. She went on to earn her master's degree in clinical mental health counseling from Argosy University in 2013. Pam has worked in school based mental health services since completing her master's level internship in 2013.
Mental Health Therapist/Emma E. Booker Elementary School
Ngan "Yang" Sandoval, RSW
Mental Health Therapist/Lamarque Elementary SchoolNgan "Yang" Sandoval, RSWYang earned her Masters of Social Work Degree from the University of Washington in 2016 with a focus on children, youth and families. Originally from Seattle, she has worked with children for more than 10 years. She previously served as a child protective investigator, adoption social worker and family resource coordinator before moving to North Port, Fla. in 2018. She also worked as a social emotional consultant at Starfish Academy before accepting her current position at Lamarque Elementary. Yang is married with a one-year-old daughter and two-year-old dog. She enjoys taking evening walks with her family as a way to connect and relax. Yang also practices calming strategies such as mindfulness, which she also teaches to her daughter.
Mental Health Therapist/Lamarque Elementary School